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Sunak faces pressure to toughen Rwanda Bill from Badenoch and Anderson

Rishi Sunak is under growing pressure from the Conservative right to bolster his Rwanda Bill after Kemi Badenoch privately warned it needs strengthening and Lee Anderson considered rebelling.

Rebel sources said Mr Anderson, a Tory deputy chairman, told colleagues he intends to defy the Government as Tory divisions are set to be dragged back into the open in crunch votes this week.

Ms Badenoch, the Business Secretary, is understood to have called for asylum seekers to be prevented from lodging individual legal appeals against their removals to Kigali.

Rishi Sunak visits the East Midlands
Lee Anderson is reportedly applying pressure on the PM (Jacob King/PA)

As first reported by The Times, she warned Liam Booth-Smith, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, of the consequences of failing to block individual legal challenges last month.

More than 50 Tory MPs have publicly backed right-wing amendments to the Rwanda Bill, which will return to the Commons on Tuesday.

But any attempt by the Prime Minister to placate them would be met by opposition from Tory moderates.

The severity of the small boat crossings which the policy is seeking to tackle was reinforced on Sunday when five more people died trying to cross the Channel from France.

The amendments gaining support among backbenchers were tabled by Robert Jenrick, who resigned as immigration minister over the legislation, and veteran Tory Sir Bill Cash.

They are seeking to disapply international law from the Bill and curtail asylum seekers’ rights to appeal against flights to Kigali.

Mr Anderson has not commented publicly but rebel sources said they had been told he will back the amendments brought by Sir Bill and Mr Jenrick if they are selected.

Robert Jenrick
Former immigration minister Robert Jenrick has tabled amendments (Aaron Chown/PA)

The amendments are unlikely to pass as they will not get Labour support but the real test will come at the third reading when rebels may vote against the Bill entirely.

Three leaders of groups on the Tory right, Mark Francois, Sir John Hayes and Danny Kruger, have said they would oppose it if Mr Sunak does not bow to their demands.

The former home secretary and rival to Mr Sunak, Suella Braverman, has said she will this time vote against the Bill if there are “no improvements”, having previously abstained.

If rebels were successful, blocking the Prime Minister’s flagship Bill would trigger fresh chaos – something that may make opponents toe the line to let it pass.

Former justice secretary Sir Robert Buckland has said he would not back the Bill if the changes are made.

He told BBC Radio 4’s The World This Weekend: “I’m going to consider the position very carefully to see what I do at third reading.

“I can say this, if any of the amendments that are promoted by some other colleagues pass then there’s no way I can vote for this Bill at third reading.

“I think already we are pushing the edges of comity – that is that mutual respect between Parliament and the courts – very, very aggressively indeed.”

Mr Sunak has argued that moving a further “inch” on the Bill would risk the Rwandans quitting the deal.